On Palm Sunday, a Mass was celebrated with over 50 guests inside the detention quarters of Sen. Leila M. de Lima in Camp Crame. Among those present were former President Benigno S. Aquino III, Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino, Sen. De Lima’s family, supporters and staff.
“Many of us are here to express solidarity with you and thank you for your courage,” Fr. Manoling Francisco, S.J. said to De Lima.
In his homily, the Jesuit priest told the parable of the prison where music is prohibited. There, a prisoner played guitar while singing songs about freedom, peace and solidarity.
The other prisoners gathered to hear the music. For this, the prisoner’s fingers were cut off by jail guards. Though punished each time–tongue cut off, guitar smashed–the prisoner, who cannot be stopped from playing music, just moaned the songs. Finally, when the prisoner was killed, it was the other prisoners who continued to sing the songs they have learned.
“Many have heard your song of justice that Jesus wants us to sing with you,” Fr. Francisco said to the Senator, who is seen by many as a political prisoner detained since February 24 on false and trumped-up charges.
Fr. Francisco said that many visit De Lima to console her. “But I’m sure it is them who are inspired and consoled by your joy, resilience and faith,” he told her.
With their right hands extended toward the direction of De Lima, everyone prayed over the Senator, that she continues to have the strength to never be silenced and stifled amid all the attacks and persecution against her.
After the Mass, De Lima was happy as she talked to her visitors over lunch, thanking them for their prayers and continued support which she said is making her stronger.